On Monday, January 21, 2008 at 11:45 PM EST WWE RAW
January 21, 2008
Commentators: Jim Ross & Jerry “The King” Lawler
Reported By: Hunter Golden of WrestleView.com
Shawn Michaels v. Mr. Kennedy
The two locked up and Kennedy grabbed an arm bar and jaw jacked a bit before being sent to the ropes only to level HBK with a shoulder block. Kennedy was on a role the whole early part of the match here, hitting two big arm drags before HBK wiggled around to a front face lock.
Kennedy spun out and went to the hammer lock but HBK fought out and the two criss crossed and exchanged some single leg nonsense before a few quick near falls. HBK went to the headlock only to be countered by a pair of Kennedy scissors. The two kept rolling around and countering before they backed off and gave each other a stare down.
Kennedy stopped the wrestling crap and began throwing punches and knees to HBK’s face and the stuff earned him a near fall. Kennedy hit an awfully aggressive rear chin lock before raking away at the former champions’ eyes.
Kennedy grabbed cravat and kept on doing this inverted back breaker thingy that makes Indy fans swoon everywhere. Kennedy kept up the stiffy stiff stiff stuff and kept on earning near falls here and there. Kennedy trash talked some and HBK took exception and fought back with some strikes. He countered a suplex and hit a swinging neck breaker and was finally able to give himself a little space to breathe.
The two exchanged some stiff strikes before HBK hit the forearm. Michaels went into his victory sequence rather abruptly and scaled the ropes. HBK dropped the elbow on Kennedy before tuning up the band. Kennedy went careening out of the ring in an attempt to avoid the maneuver only for HBK to flip himself over the top rope and onto his face.
Kennedy was able to capitalize on Michaels after running him into the ring post on the outside. Kennedy set up a slumping HBK in the corner and hit a nasty running face wash for a two count.
Michaels fought back with chops and other manly slaps before completely taking Kennedy out with a nasty clothesline. These guys are working REALLY stiff tonight. Kennedy went for a Mic Check but HBK avoided him. Kennedy bullied him to the corner and propped him up on the top rope before scaling them himself and going for a top rope super plex.
Michaels battled on the top and was able to knock Kennedy back to the mat. He went for another elbow, but Kennedy got the knee up and Michaels was stunned badly. Kennedy went for the Green bay Plunge and connected but only got a two count.
Michaels popped up after Kennedy was busy admonishing the referee and took Kennedy’s legs out from underneath him and went for that submission. Kennedy staggered back avoiding the move, but as he reeled around Michaels nailed him with sweet chin music. That’s all she wrote.
Winner: Shawn Michaels via pin fall
WWE Champion Randy Orton is in the back trying to make sense of all this. He wondered why Vince wanted him to shake his hand after Jeff Hardy tried to end his career last week. Vince said that was indeed what he wanted him to do. Orton said maybe Vince didn’t see it. He said he took a vicious fall off the stage and was practically murdered by Hardy’s actions. He said he should at least be in a wheel chair.
Vince said he shook the hands of many people he hated. He said perception was reality though. He said if he shook Hardy’s hand, he’d come off as a nice guy, maybe even a gentleman. He said the reality was he was a hard nosed scoundrel and that was fine. He said he didn’t care if he meant it. He said he needed to think of it as a competitive advantage. He said Hardy said he would take him out last week and he almost did, but in the end, didn’t. He said if Randy looks in his eyes, Jeff will ask himself what he has to do to beat Randy. He said when he looks into his eyes, he’ll see the answer…. He can’t. Vince told him to go shake his hand.
Beth Phoenix v. Mickie James
James says she’ll beat Beth tonight. We’ll see.
The two exchanged arm bars and Beth is going to win anything standing up. Phoenix slammed her hard to the mat. James wrapped her legs around Beth’s head and caused some damage before connecting with the thesz press and a drop kick. Mickie mounted the buckles and that’s just stupid. Beth turned her around and clobbered her on the top.
Mickie went to the whole mosquito thing before Beth tossed her to the outside, followed her, and slammed her into the ring post. Beth slammed on a neck vice. James fought back and wiggled out of a body slam into a roll up for a near fall. Beth went for a back slide but Mickie flipped out and hit some running strikes.
Beth chased Mickie all over the ring while Mickie kept on hitting stinging blows to keep the champion off balance. Mickie went for the big DDT but Beth powered her up, dropped her on the top rope, kicked her and then powered her up for a fisherman’s buster for the win.
Winner: Beth Phoenix via pin fall
Todd Grisham is with Triple H and they’re talking about the Royal Rumble qualifying match. Triple H said he didn’t know who his opponent was tonight, but seven of the last Royal Rumble winners have gone on to win the World title at Wrestlemania. He said it didn’t matter what happened, that he’d be in the Rumble this Sunday. He said that wasn’t a promise, it was a guarantee.
Cody Rhodes is excited for the Royal Rumble and is lisping. Brian Kendrick’s excited, too. Bob Holly showed up and there’s some sort of talk about the internet, Holly’s confused because he doesn’t use that stuff, Kendrick puts over My Space… Holly gets grouchy and he wants to beat Carlito and go to the Rumble.
A really awesome promo package putting over Randy Orton aired.
Finlay and Hornswoggle are in the back.
Hornswoggle & Finlay v. The Highlanders
Finlay worked over both guys before eating a Rory lariat. Hornswoggle bought him plenty of time with his antics and even got some crazy non sense in. Finlay loaded up Rory for a Celtic Cross and nailed it before tagging in Hornswoggle. Hornswoggle nailed the tadpole splash and that’s it. Quick and harmless I suppose.
Winners: Finlay & Hornswoggle via pin fall
A video putting over the events of the past few weeks between JBL and Chris Jericho aired. Jericho came out at the top of the hour and apparently has something to say.
Jericho called JBL a coward for threatening his kids. He said he saw doubt in his kids’ eyes and forever scarred his kids. He said JBL didn’t want to make it personal but he did. He didn’t want to take it to that space, but he did. He said JBL didn’t finish what he started and as a result, he was still here. He said he had been beaten and bloodied and slapped around by some of the biggest and baddest in the business but never dragged around like a piece of meat, but despite all that, he was still here. He said Sunday they would have the Royal Rumble. He put over MSG, and the history there and how it was about giving everyone a good show. He said Sunday though, he wasn’t worried about a show. He said he only wanted one thing: to fight.
JR and King ran down the Royal Rumble card.
Royal Rumble Match
Randy Orton © v. Jeff Hardy
World Heavyweight Championship
Edge © v. Rey Mysterio
JBL v. Chris Jericho
United States Championship
MVP © v. Ric Flair
Jeff Hardy is in the back looking crazy. Vince told him to never, ever risk someone’s life like he did last week, because he had an investment in him. He told him to shake Orton’s hands tonight. He said the handshake would cause a great deal of speculation and would raise the question of what he would do to win the WWE Championship. Jeff said he’d be out there and he’d give everyone something to talk about.
Royal Rumble Qualifying Match
Brian Kendrick v. Umaga
Kendrick is going to die the most spectacular death ever. The ‘oh you’re dead’ pop from the crowd rules.
Umaga wastes little time and flat backed Kendrick before hammering him around the ring. Kendrick avoided a splash in the corner and came at him with some silly strikes only to get decked with a right hand.
Umaga sat him upside down in the corner but missed the diving head butt. Kendrick flew off the top rope with a missile drop kick and a wheel kick but Umaga’s still standing. Kendrick comes off the ropes and GETS KILLED WITH THE WORST MEAN SAMOAN DROP EVER. Spike time. That’s it.
Winner: Umaga via pin fall
Mickie is in the back and Maria is comforting her. Mickie is crying and frustrated because she can’t beat Beth. Ashley shows up and said Heffner had a great idea she wanted to talk to her about. Santino showed up and said thanks but no thanks, he didn’t need a subscription to Playboy. Maria and Santino walked off while Ashley said she’d call her.
A video piece for Vince McMahon’s appearance on “The Celebrity Apprentice” aired.
A really great video for Jeff Hardy aired.
Royal Rumble Qualifying Match
Carlito v. Hardcore Holly
The two locked horns and did the old headlock, shoulder block opening. Holly got a hard takedown for a quick one count before lacing Carlito with chops. Carlito caught him running in and nailed a clothesline for a quickie near fall of his own.
Carlito kept up the pressure and hit a big shoulder tackle for a second near fall. Carlito hit some stomps and punches before slapping on the vaunted rear chin lock of doom. Holly fought to his feet and hit some shots to the gut before chopping Carlito back to the corner.
Holly went for a vertical suplex and got a two count from it. Carlito hung him up on the top rope from the apron before laying some more boots to the veteran and slapping on a bow and arrow. Holly again fought to his feet and tossed Carlito into the ropes and hit a back elbow to floor the second generation star and then hit the high back body drop. He kicked Carlito in the junk and loaded up the Alabama slam but got distracted by Santino Marella. Carlito hit a back snapper and that’s that.
Winner: Carlito via pin fall
Triple H’s qualifying match is next!
Royal Rumble Qualifying Match
Triple H v. Snitsky v. Mark Henry v. William Regal
Raw GM William Regal came out. He said it wasn’t the match he’ll have, it’s the match he’s in. He said he’d have to face three opponents in an over the top rope gauntlet match. If he threw all three over the top rope, he’d win. If they tossed him, he was out.
Snitsky’s first out of the shoot. Snitsky looks excited. The two went right at it and the Game took the early advantage with some strikes and a knee lift. Triple H tried to toss him out but that didn’t work too well. Snitsky hit a sidewalk slam to take the advantage and dropped an elbow or two on Triple H before trying to eject him from the ring.
The Game wiggled out and fought Snitsky back and avoided a big boot and straddled the top rope. Snitsky got back in only for Triple H to quickly follow up and knock him over the top rope.
His second opponent would be Mark Henry. Wig splittin’ time.
The two went at it and traded blows. Triple H hit a face buster only to eat a shoulder tackle from the world’s strongest man. Henry tried to toss him, but the Game fought him off. Henry got all big man-ish on the Game, hitting a head butt and laying the Game out with a back breaker.
Henry tried to eject him and the toss got lots a heat. Triple H had a whip reversed but avoided the charging Henry. Triple H went for a body slam and, uh, that’s dumb. Henry crashed onto him and he lined him up for an avalanche and connected. Triple H staggered to his feet and yanked the top rope down on the oncoming Henry and Henry eliminated himself.
Regal held off the last contestant for a little while and headed to the ring himself. Regal ran down and we’ve got a good old Regal-Triple H brawl. Regal tried to eliminate Triple H and almost succeeded but the Game avoided him, rolled out and nailed a AA spine buster. Regal got tossed in short order and Triple H is in the Rumble match.
Winner: Triple H
The handshake is next.
Vince McMahon came down to the ring and gave a cheer for himself in HD! He put over the title match at the Rumble and introduced WWE Champion Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy.
Vince asked Randy Orton what kind of match we’d see at the Rumble. He asked him if we’d see more death defying stunts. He asked Hardy if we’d see more head kicking. He said one man would walk away champion. He asked the two to shake hands.
Before we do that though, we’ve got to have some mandatory jaw jacking. Orton took the mic and said he was going to be honest with Jeff. He said ever since he found out he’d be his opponent at the Rumble, he was relieved. He said Hardy had done some amazing things, but never came close to where he was. He admitted he underestimated him though. He congratulated Hardy and told him he wouldn’t be winning his title on Sunday, but he won something almost as important, his respect.
Hardy said he didn’t care about earning Orton’s respect. He said he didn’t hit a 30 foot swanton to impress him, he did it to hurt him. He said he had waited too long for this opportunity and he did it to show him how bad and how far he’d go to win the title. He said he’d shake many people’s hands before he’d shake Orton’s.
He rolled out of the ring and shook about everyone’s hand near ringside. Perfect cheesy baby face Barney stuff. He got into the ring again and faced Orton. Orton extended his hand and Hardy stared him down, hit a kick to the gut and hit the twist of fate. He stood above Orton and showed him the guns, and clapped in Orton’s face. RAW THOUGHTSShow Thoughts-- WWE definitely went for the hard sell on the pay per view, not really risking anything and keeping the angles to more of a promo-oriented murmur rather than the crazy stuff we saw last week. Sure, this wasn’t the action-packed Raw we’re used to, but really it was done well enough to sell the matches on the pay per view.
I have a feeling Michaels-Kennedy is going to get A TON of love from people, but let me be the first to disagree. I had a couple of problems with this match. Kennedy’s control segments really just didn’t get any heat built up for the inevitable HBK comeback. Not to mention I HATE counter wrestling late in a match. Other than establishing roles early on, it really gets lame when guys start eating finishers and avoiding this and that only to get knocked out with a finisher they just could’ve put on in the initial comeback. I felt like a lot of that heat was the generic and obligatory HBK heat rather than anyone really feeling invested in the thing.
Kennedy generally struggles with his own charisma. Especially when you’re a heel. The object of being the bad guy is to get people to CHEER the face, not just boo you and while I think Kennedy’s good at drawing heat on himself, he really struggles getting baby faces the same kind of heat.
I’m really nervous we’re going to get a Triple H win at the Rumble at this point. All the build around the match is on him and while Triple H in any main event isn’t a bad thing, I just think a Rumble win at this point wouldn’t draw the heat. People have seen Orton-Triple H a zillion times and I question it’s drawing potential at Wrestlemania. If I held the book, I’d rip off the good old double winner thing and gun for a triple threat between Orton, Triple H and Batista. That’s just me.
The JBL-Jericho thing was cooled off well enough. I have a feeling we’re… well scratch that, I KNOW we’ll likely get a rematch at No Way Out the way they’re going with this thing, so I’d say it’s wise to put the breaks on it a bit.
The Orton-Hardy feud has been sensational and I’m glad the WWE has just stopped fighting the heat Orton gets and the pops Hardy’s got. The crowd hates Orton as much as they love Hardy and it’s just so fresh and different for a change. I’m not the biggest Hardy fan in the world, but I do love the fact that he’s really stepped up in a main event slot. They’ve built the feud around such simple things and it’s got tremendous heat. Should be a good match at the Rumble.
Everything /* was just pomp and circumstance for the Rumble. Not the greatest Raw tonight, but it wasn’t anything offensive and all things considered, cooling the feuds down and reminding us all why we need to shell out the bucks for the show is smart business, so I can’t really gripe.
Overall Grade: C
Shawn Michaels def. Mr. Kennedy
Beth Phoenix def. Mickie James
Hornswoggle & Finlay def. The Highlanders
Umaga def. Brian Kendrick
Carlito def. Hardcore Holly
Triple H won a gauntlet match to qualify for the Royal Rumble
Who’s Hot, Who’s Not?
1. Jeff Hardy
2. Triple H
3. Shawn Michaels
4. Mickie James
1. Randy Orton
2. Vince McMahon
4. Mr. Kennedy
Match of the Night: Shawn Michaels v. Mr. Kennedy **1/4
Power Rankings5 Points= Title Win
4 Points= World Title defense/win
3 Points= Singles PPV Win
2 Points= Tag PPV Win
2 Points= TV Singles Win
1 Point= TV Tag Win
0 Points= Loss
WWE Champion: Randy Orton 0-1, 0pts. (Last Week: WWE Champion) --Orton did a great job of making himself look so vulnerable. Hardy’s getting to him. It’s genuinely made Hardy look like a threat (even though he’s probably not) and I can’t remember the last time a Rumble title match had this much heat heading into it.
Intercontinental Champion: Jeff Hardy 2-0, 4pts. (Last Week: IC Champion)— Hardy’s promo was pure and total cheese tonight, but given the way they’ve worked this feud, it couldn’t have been more appropriate. Hardy’s really pushed himself in this feud and again, I don’t love the guy, but I’m darn pleased to see him doing so well with this push. He’s proving me wrong.
1. Shawn Michaels 3-0, 5pts. (Last Week: 1) —I never thought I’d see the day where Shawn Michaels was more or less floating around, but sure enough, he seems to be doing that. Run of the mill stuff from him tonight with a slightly stiffer titty twister and a fun bump over the top rope.
1. Triple H 2-1, 4pts.(Last Week: 2) -- If you’re putting money on the Rumble this weekend, the smart bet is this guy. I thought the way they had him qualify was pretty bleh, but really, I have a hard time getting past the whole ‘been there, done that’ thing.
3. Chris Jericho 1-0, 2pts. (Last Week: 3)-- Given the intensity of JBL’s promo this year, Jericho’s promo this week was a good juxtaposition, even though a serious Jericho has been a hard buy thus far. Still though, I’m totally digging this feud and I’m looking forward to the clash of styles at the Rumble.
4. Ken Kennedy 1-1, 3pts. (Last Week: 4)-- Kennedy takes a loss this week and thus, takes a bit of a slide, but nothing too horrendous. I know I’m tough on this guy, but he’ll come around eventually.
5. Ric Flair 1-0, 2 points (Last Week: 5) -- Not in action this week.
6. Umaga 1-1, 2 points(Last Week: 6) -- EXCELLENT squash stuff from Umaga tonight. Always helps when you’ve got a pretty capable Brian Kendrick to smoosh.
7. JBL 0-1, 0 points (Last Week: 7) -- Not in action this week.
8. Hardcore Holly 1-1, 1pt.. (Last Week: 8) — I’m not going to dump Holly, despite losing to Carlito. Terrible short match and all from both, but really I don’t feel like Carlito’s really moved ahead of Holly in any capacity. Argue with me all you want. It’s my list!
9. Cody Rhodes 0-0, 0 points (Last Week: 9) -- Not in action.
10. Carlito 1-1, 2 pts. (Last Week: NR) -- Carlito bumps up back into the top 10, but considering the way they’ve been (barely) using him, I doubt we’ll see much anytime soon.
John Cena 0-0, 0 points. (Last Week: INJURED)
Jerry Lawler 0-0 points (Last Week: 10)
Lance Cade 0-0, 0 points (Last Week: 8)
Santino Marella 0-0, 0 points (Last Week: 9)
Paul London 0-0, 0 points(Last Week: NR)
Brian Kendrick, 0-1, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Trevor Murdoch 0-2, 0 points (Last Week: 7)
Super Crazy 0-0, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
William Regal 0-2 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Bobby Lashley 0-0, 0 points (Last Week: INJURED)
Ron Simmons 0-0, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Harry Smith 0-0, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Jim Duggan 0-0, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Rory 0-2, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Charlie Haas 0-1, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Robbie 0-2, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Mick Foley 1-0, 1 point (Last Week: NR)
Sgt. Slaughter 0-0. 0 pts. (Last Week: NR)
Val Venis 0-0 0pts. (Last Week: NR)
Snitsky 1-1, 0 points (Last Week: 10)